By Wendy Magas, Outreach Director
NAMI Fox Valley recently marked its 30-year anniversary. A couple months ago, a few of its founders and early supporters got together to talk about NAMI FV’s history. Dr. Tom Tatlock, a retired psychiatrist and longtime NAMI supporter, had the idea of putting together a timeline to chronicle NAMI FV’s past, from its small beginnings to the thriving organization it is today.
As the group began chatting and reminiscing, stories began to emerge. Marilyn Mosher, one of the NAMI FV’s founders, shared the heart-wrenching story of her young son’s devastating mental illness. As a former newspaper reporter, I instinctively began to take notes. In the depths of her anguish and despair, a stranger reached out to her and it changed the course of her life. As we went around the table, the theme continued – stories about families in crisis who found help, hope and support from NAMI.
By the end of the two-hour meeting, I had filled my notebook. Afterwards, NAMI volunteer Paula Verrett and I began collecting more stories from NAMI friends, supporters, volunteers and consumers. We compiled the stories into a display that we shared at April 26 Awards Celebration at the Trout Museum. Here it is in digital form. As we plan and chart NAMI Fox Valley’s future, honoring and remembering our past will help ensure we stay true to our mission: improving the lives of those affected by mental illness.